Richard Layard

Director, Wellbeing Programme at the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance

Professor Lord Layard is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, where he was until 2003 the founder-director of the Centre for Economic Performance. He now heads the Centre’s Programme on Well-Being. Since 2000 he has been a member of the House of Lords and is a keen advocate of making subjective well-being of the people the central objective of governments. He is a labour economist who has made major contributions on unemployment, inflation, inequality and post-Communist reform. He was an early advocate of the welfare-to-work approach to European unemployment and his work has influenced policy in many countries. In 2008, he was awarded the IZA Prize in Labour Economics. His influential book Happiness – Lessons from a New Science was published in 2005 and has sold 150,000 copies in 20 languages. A second edition was published last year, with a new part in which he responds to the critics and clarifies his argument. He also advises the British Government on mental health policy and is an architect of the new revolutionary policy of “Improving Access to Psychological Therapy”. He has been joint-coordinator of the UK Local Well-Being Programme through which three local authorities have introduced the Penn Resilience Programme into the curriculum for their 11-year-olds. He is also an adviser to the UK Office of National Statistics on the measurement of national well-being and Chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Health and Well-Being. With Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon, he recently launched a mass movement to create a happier society called Action for Happiness.